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Understanding the Linux Kernel, 2nd Edition School & Library Binding – Jan 2003
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School & Library Binding
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About the Author
received a degree in mathematics in 1992 and a Ph.D. in computer science (University of Rome, "La Sapienza") in 1995. He is now a research assistant in the computer science department of the School of Engineering (University of Rome, "Tor Vergata"). In the past, he served as system administrator and Unix programmer for the university (as a Ph.D. student) and for several institutions (as a consultant).
Top Customer Reviews
Reader is encouraged to look at the code while reading this book, however, very few references to the code is found, it's mostly talk, talk, talk, and you just lose it long before you're able to get a big picture.
I just couldn't believe how much space was wasted in the first part of the book explaining things that you ought to know before you even think about buying this book. I wish that space was used for more code/examples instead.
There is hardly any code in this book, and on the other hand it tried to chew so many subjects that are impossible to fit in this book and deserve (and have!) books on their own. I don't need a book on how CPU works, just show me a piece of code in Linux and try to explain it assuming some theoretical knowledge on the readers side that has to be assumed.
If you expect Stevens-like masterpiece from this book, you will be disappointed. If you already have Kernel knowledge, I guess it might be used as a reference. If you don't, it's close to useless.
I think that part of the problem is the deliberate "bottom-up" approach: this starts out in the first chapter dealing with memory addressing at the hardware level and goes on from there. I tend not to like bottom up explanations: give me the grand picture first and then drill down. But that can't be all of it: The Magic Garden Explained effectively starts there too, and I enjoyed that. Frankly, this approach probably is the best way to handle this subject matter in spite of my preferences.
Perhaps part of this is that I'm not playing by the rules. There is a strong implication in the preface that one should be looking at the source code while reading. One of the reviews at Amazon.com says the same thing. I didn't do that, and that may contribute to my vague dissatisfaction.
I certainly can't complain that this is incomplete or badly written. It covers everything that should be covered, and it is current as of the 2.4 kernels. The writing style is lucid, and I think that in general the writers have done a better than average job of explaining the why and wherefor in addition to the how.
I think maybe I've just lost my interest in this level of detail. There was a time when I found it fascinating in the most literal sense, but that was years ago. I just don't have any burning desire to understand kernel internals anymore.
You, of course, may still have that interest. If so, this would undoubtedly be a worthwhile addition to your library.
This new edition also revised some of the staples of its predecessor, like: individual components of data structures, programming pathways, and interdependent algorithms. Its pattern is just as dynamic as that of the First Edition: with expanded elaborations on all those programming and performance tips.
In all, this is a good book to consider, if you are seeking Linux Kernel knowledge. But, if you already own the previous edition, and do not plan to adopt the Kernel 2.4 version, then there is no wisdom in spending on this one.
This book (or tome in many peoples eyes) is the utter definition of 'internals explained'. I sat with this book and Linux Device Drivers 2nd Edition (also from O'Reilly) and practically obsessed! It's generally very good for anyone who does /anything/ linux. You will learn how to communicate with the kernel, and get a great explanation of all kernel specific functions. Whether you talk to it, interprocess with it, whatever; this book will be a /major/ help for kernel related tasks, It was for me. As a bonus, in the back you can find all functions and headers by reference and alphabetic. In essence, i was very satisfied and glad i came upon this 'tome'.
Hope this helps
Most recent customer reviews
A very decent book on Linux Kernel v2.4. Based on PC 80x86 architecture, it covers both uni- and multi-processor systems. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2004 by Aleh Matus
This is a good book on the kernel.
only thing lacking is Linux 2.6...
guess it must be hard to write an Uptodate book on the kernel.
This is very very borring. You need lots of pep pills to keep reading this day after day, and not really learning how to do something practical....just lots of theory stuff.Published on Oct. 6 2003